The Black Keys’ Patrick Carney: Rock Doesn’t Sell Like it Used To


Story by Anne Erickson

The Black Keys release, El Camino, on Dec. 6

With the Black KeysBrothers album inching closer and closer to platinum status, it seems a no-brainer that Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach know the Keys have “made it.” As for exactly when that realization kicked in, according to Carney, it wasn’t until multiple opportunities came at them in one fell swoop.

“We started realizing how big Brothers had gotten when we booked Saturday Night Live and got nominated for those Grammys within a two-week period,” he told American Songwriter. “Then the album went gold one month later. It was cool, but it kinda made me nervous. … This past February, we literally went from the Grammy Awards to Las Vegas to play some shows, then home for a week off, and then right into Dan’s studio.”

Brothers was eventually crowned the No. 1 alternative album of 2010. Now, the Black Keys find themselves in an extremely high-profile position going into their forthcoming album, El Camino, out Dec. 6. Although the pressure’s on, Carney isn’t biting his nails. After all, Brothers had moderate sales expectations, and look where that story ended.

“When we made Brothers, we had hopes it would sell 250,000 copies,” he said. “That was our big goal. [Brothers has now sold over 830,000 copies.] But now that Brothers has done so well, there are expectations of what this one will do. My own expectations are modest. It was only a year ago that we’d never crossed the 300,000 threshold. So if we can sell 500,000 of this one in a year, I’ll be very happy.”

He also injected some commentary on the state of rock music: “Rock and roll doesn’t sell like it used to. I was at the [MTV] VMAs this year, just sitting there while they announced the nominees for the rock category, and the reaction for those bands was so minimal compared to the applause that the all the hip hop acts got.” Here’s to the Black Keys bringing rock back to the forefront.

Say you can’t wait until December to get your ears on new Keys tracks? The duo release a “Lonely Boy” and “Run Right Back” limited edition 12” vinyl (two songs off their upcoming album, El Camino) as part of National Record Store Day’s “Back to Black” releases on Black Friday. (Photo credit: Danny Clinch via the Black Keys’ Facebook.)




Posted by Anne Erickson | Alternative, Music, Rock News

Related Posts